The structure of this pavilion is very different from the pretentious scenographic architecture of the others, which expressed a Zeitgeist that looked optimistically towards the future. Instead it is deliberately unattractive, with superimposed levels that form a massive ziggurat-like tower. It is crowned with a sort of self-portrait in the form of two huge blocks, like the blank squares that conceal and substitute the artist’s head in the photograph. Thus, at the summit of the ziggurat, where priests and augurs once scrutinized the sky and looked to the heavens in order to predict the future, there is now a quadrangular “head”, stubbornly concentrating upon trying to understand the present. Inside it we find the work that gives the project its name: Where is Abel? This is a tapestry of various images, with apparently reassuring colours. But in this collage of fabrics there is also a disquieting element: the head of Abel, which evokes the first murder in human history. At a first glance the tapestry and the gramophone that repeats the music from Sergio Leone’s film “For a Few Dollars More” seem innocent enough, but they create a dramatic tension by introducing the theme of violence, the sacrificial victim, and death. In addition the flag of the pavilion seems to be a black hole created by something that has fallen into it, although it is surrounded by colour. The hope for peace has been swallowed up in this banner, leading to an uncertain future and the destruction of a harmony that was in fact only imagined. This black hole expresses the absence of awareness regarding the present, which is just as valid today as it was yesterday.
According to Gregorio Samsa the situation that we now face, when a Universal Exhibition is being proposed to deal with the modern emergency of “feeding the world”, or trying to redistribute its food resources and thus limit hunger, is not so very far from the situation in 1937. A similar threat of violence looms over us today. Although it is not manifested in an all-out war in the West it leads to equally brutal localized armed conflicts, mass emigration from war-zones, cynical oppression by transnational systems such as those of global banking and finance, the cancellation of individual rights, as well as systematic murder and the deletion of the past perpetrated in the name of religion. Innocent victims continue to suffer from violence and aggression, as Gregorio Samsa seems to tells us, although in his own language, which requires us to engage in an act of attention that goes beyond the reassuring appearances and that tries to understand the origins and the processes of violence. The artist responds to all this by adopting an active and participatory role, although one that is symbolic, as represented by his choice to participate in a Universal Exposition with his own pavilion. Nevertheless he clearly expresses his position by saying “We Are Lucid”, with brightness, light, and an awareness that attempts to understand the present.